Days later, and I still felt bad. I never felt bad; that wasn't my style. But this time…she was more than just angry with me. I mean, Bonnie and I had always had a sort of…complicated relationship. Not exactly friends, not exactly enemies. I would tease her and get on her nerves, and she would nag me and tell me I was a nuisance. We didn't really hate each other, but it was no secret that we sort of had a history of fighting.
But this time… This was different. Usually, when we fought, she had her argument all lined up in her head, and she would give it to me as a neat bulleted list. The last time we'd spoken, she had hardly said anything at all, and she'd actually run away from me. Sure, I'm used to that—I'm a monster and all—but not from her. Not Bonnie. If you'd asked me what it was about her that made my heart scream like it did, I couldn't tell you. I never knew why I wanted her so much; she was too proper, too clean and sweet, and even a little snobby. But even time I was around her, I just got this feeling that I couldn't get from anyone else. A feeling more exciting than pulling pranks and screwing with people's heads. The only feeling that mattered at all.
Vampires aren't really romantics. Some people like to think so, but there's not anything dreamy about getting your throat ripped out. We're not good at expressing our feelings—when we're lucky enough to have them. Biting is usually our go-to option. Whenever we feel too much, too strongly, and we don't know how to cope with it…we try to get rid of the cause.
Had I tried to do that to Bonnibel? I couldn't stop thinking about it, trying to remember what had happened, but it was no use. Maybe all that sugar was messing up my brain. Of course, the one time I actually got to put my lips on her skin, and I couldn't even remember it! I just wished she would call me or even send one of her little servants. Anything so I could have some idea of what she was thinking.
I stayed at home for a while. No reason to go out; nothing seemed like any fun. I tried working on a new song, but the music just wouldn't come out.
"Crud," I muttered, dropping my bass on the bed. "How lame." Thinking like this was seriously bumming me out. Why should I care how she was doing or if she was mad at me? What did it matter to me how she felt? I didn't care—
My phone rang from downstairs, and I was there in a split-second to answer it. I knew it was her. It had to be her.
"Bonnie. Hey." I wasn't sure what else to say. Maybe she was calling to gripe at me or something. I had to be careful.
"Are you busy? I'd like to see you," she told me matter-of-factly. She didn't sound mad.
"I don't have any plans or anything," I replied.
"Great. Just come by the castle whenever you can tonight. I'll be waiting." And she hung up without so much as a good-bye. The whole thing made me nervous, but…well, if she wanted to see me, I wasn't going to say no. Maybe there was a way I could get her to forgive me for what happened. Normally, I wasn't big into apologizing, but I might have to make an exception in this case. For a while, I floated around my house, trying to think of something to say to her. After the sun set, I headed out and hoped her invitation meant she didn't hate my guts.
When I got to the gates, I was greeted by banana guards. Those guys aren't too bright, but they serve their purpose; they led me downstairs—way downstairs—to Bonnibel's lab, then left me there without any kind of instructions.
"Uh, hello?" I called, sticking my head inside the door. So much for my big apology speech.
"Come in," her voice called from a corner, and I floated inside to find her standing in front of a chalkboard. It looked like she was working on something pretty complex, but she had scribbled it out. I tried to sneak a look at her, and what I saw made my stomach squirm. She looked like she hadn't slept since I last saw her, and she had gotten even paler, too. Her hair was pulled back (so I could see the bite mark I'd left), and she had this huge, nerdy glasses; the whole scientist look would've been cute if she hadn't looked so sick. "Marceline. I'm glad to see you."
"You are? That's unexpected," I muttered. "After what happened, I figured you hated me…"
"No, no," she argued, shaking her head. "There's something I'd like to discuss with you. Have a seat." There were a couple of metal chairs by the counter, and she sat in one, gesturing to the other one for me. Even though it looked really uncomfortable, I sat down and pulled my legs up to my chest.
"So what's up?"
"I've been looking over the notes I made on the night of this…incident." She touched her neck. "And I've started to develop some very exciting hypotheses. How old are you, Marceline?"
"Uh, about a thousand," I answered awkwardly.
"Exactly. You're immortal because you're a vampire. I've been looking for the secret to immortality for years, but I was looking in the wrong books. The answer doesn't lie in science at all!" Her eyes were fixed on my mouth. Normally, that would've been a good thing, but I was sure I liked where this conversation was going. "I have a proposition for you. Nothing would make me happier than to study your extended lifespan and find out if there's a way that I can extract the immortality gene from your DNA and apply it to others."
"Are you kidding? No way!" I left my chair and floated past her, furious. What the heck did she think I was? Some kind of lab experiment? She could just use me for her science, and I would be okay with it? No matter what kind of feelings I had for her, I wasn't about to let her use me like some kind of tool!
"Marceline, please!" She grabbed my hand before I could leave, and by reflex, I turned and hissed at her. But she didn't let go. For a second, I thought about forcing her to, but then I saw the tears in her eyes. She tugged on my hand, and then she was on the floor, still holding onto me. When she spoke, her voice was shaky and breathless, "Listen to me. You…you don't know what it's like to fear death. I was nearly killed once before. Do you understand what that means? I almost died." Her face turned up toward me, and I could see wet streaks down her cheeks. "You have no idea how horrifying that knowledge is. That any day, I could die, and I would be gone forever. My kingdom would be lost without a ruler. My people, my friends… They need me. If you could help me…why wouldn't you?" She looked so hurt, and she made it sound like it was my fault. It's not like I made her a mortal or anything!
"Look, Bonnie, being a vampire, it's not all it's cracked up to be," I told her uneasily. I hated that pained look on her face…but I didn't know how to fix it. "Besides, I don't even know if I could make you the same as me; I've never tried before. Most of the time, my bites just zombies…or corpses."
"But I'll be here to help," she insisted. "I know candy biology and anatomy. I know how my blood works, and we can study how I'm affected. I've been recording the changes I've felt since it happened, and the results are phenomenal! We'll do it together. With my science and your knowledge of the arcane, I'm sure we can." She looked so hopeful all of a sudden, and she pulled me down further so I was sitting on my knees in front of her. "Please." I couldn't even meet her eyes. Was this really what she wanted? This was a big deal; it's not something you just rush into. But hearing her cry like that had me really shaken up. If she died… Jeez, I couldn't even stand thinking about it. I opened my mouth to answer (even though I wasn't sure what I was going to say), but then she collapsed against my shoulder.
"Hey! Bonnie! Are you okay?" I pushed her up to look her in the face, but she was having trouble staying upright.
"I dunno," she mumbled, putting a hand to her head. "I feel…weak. Haven't eaten…"
"What? Why haven't you…?" Oh, man.
"I tried. But nothing helped." She was steadily shaking her head, clutching my arms while I tried to hold her up. Great. She was already starting to want my kind of food. But…she didn't have fangs; how could she drink the color out of anything? My face heated up as an idea came to mind. Maybe I could help her eat something. But that meant I'd have to… After a second, I noticed that she was watching me, eyeing my red cheeks hungrily.
"Uh…just stay here for a second." I carefully let her go, then searched the room and grabbed the first red thing I saw: a huge book that was lying on the counter. I brought it back to her and said, "So, I think I can help you, but…uh, you'd have to—"
"I understand." Even when she was so weak already, she still managed to blush as she realized what I was saying. "If that's what has to be done…I hope you don't mind." What could I say? I was determined to remember this time. Picking the book up, I lifted it up to my mouth and sucked all the red out of it, then moved a little closer to her, embarrassed. My lips touched hers, and I shivered. Trying not to freak out, I opened my mouth a little so she could drink the red that was on my tongue. After her first taste, she surprised me by reaching up into my hair to pull me closer. Oh, wow… I couldn't tell if she was kissing me as hard as I thought she was…or if she was just hungry. Either way, my whole body felt like it was on fire, and I realized I was holding her close, too. After a few seconds, I realized that I didn't have any more food for her, so I let her go. Still, she was holding onto me tightly, and her breathing was heavy between us.
"…did that help?" I asked. Though she wouldn't meet my eyes, she nodded.
"Thank you. Does this mean you're going to help me with my research? You've seen how little I know about this already." What was I supposed to do? I couldn't just let her suffer and starve. And…if I meant I got to kiss her like that, maybe it wasn't such a bad idea, after all. Bonnie around forever…it would give us one thing in common, at least.
"Okay," I agreed, positive that I would regret it later. But my head was still a little foggy from that kiss… "I'll do it."